The pros and cons of Helicobacter pylori

December 27, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(Medical Xpress) -- The debate over the bacteria Helicobacter pylori continues as a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that people carrying H. pylori have a reduced risk of diarrhea from other bacterial causes.

While previous studies have linked H. pylori to increased risk of ulcers, and low iron levels, its role in other areas has been questioned.

This new study, led by Dani Cohen from Tel Aviv University in Israel, looked at 595 male Israeli soldiers. Of these soldiers, a third of them had come into the clinic for diarrhea during field training.

Before training began, all soldiers underwent blood testing. The researchers used this blood to test for levels of H. pylori and determined which soldiers were chronically infected with the bacteria.

When comparing these numbers with the incidence of diarrhea, the researchers discovered that between 32 and 36 percent of the soldiers with symptoms of diarrhea had H. pylori in their system. However, of the soldiers that never reported symptoms of diarrhea, 56 percent contained levels of H. pylori.

Calculations showed that being infected with H. pylori accounted for a 60 percent reduced risk of diarrhea from Shigella bacteria or other unknown causes. The results also showed a reduced risk from E. coli.

The researchers believe that the H. pylori may affect the acidity in the gut and create an unsuitable area for the bacteria to settle. Another possible explanation is that, due to the H. pylori, the immune system may already be in overdrive and this may help to keep other bacteria from growing in the .

Explore further: DNA from common stomach bacteria minimizes effects of colitis

More information: An Inverse and Independent Association Between Helicobacter pylori Infection and the Incidence of Shigellosis and Other Diarrheal Diseases, Clin Infect Dis. (2011) doi: 10.1093/cid/cir916

Abstract

Objectives. We examined the association between Helicobacter pylori infection and the incidence of diarrheal diseases.
Methods. In a nested case-control study participants were sampled from cohorts of male Israeli soldiers aged 18–21 years, serving in field units and followed up for diarrheal diseases. Case patients (n = 177) were subjects who visited the base clinic because diarrhea and were positive for Shigella sonnei (n = 66), enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) (n = 31) or negative for bacterial pathogens (n = 80; diarrhea of unknown etiology). Controls (n = 418) were subjects who did not suffer from a diarrheal disease during the follow-up. They were matched to case patients by training unit and period. Serum samples were obtained from participants at the beginning of their field training and were tested for anti–H. pylori immunoglobulin (Ig) G and preexisting Shigella sonnei lipopolysaccharide IgG and IgA antibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results. The proportion of H. pylori–infected subjects was significantly lower among case patients with infection of unknown etiology (36.3%) than among controls (56.0%) (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], .24−.77; P = .005). The proportion of H. pylori–infected subjects among case patients with S. sonnei shigellosis was also significantly lower than in the control group: 36.3% versus 56.0%. The association persisted after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and preexisting S. sonnei serum IgA antibodies (adjusted OR, 0.37; 95% CI, .14–.95; P = .03) and IgG antibodies (adjusted OR, 0.38; 95% CI, .14−.99; P = .04). The direction of the association between H. pylori infection and ETEC diarrhea was similar, albeit not statistically significant.
Conclusions. Our findings suggest an active role of H. pylori in protection against diarrheal diseases.

Related Stories

DNA from common stomach bacteria minimizes effects of colitis

May 5, 2011
DNA from Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacteria, minimizes the effects of colitis in mice, according to a new study by University of Michigan Medical School scientists.

Ulcer bacteria may contribute to development of Parkinson's disease

May 22, 2011
The stomach bacteria responsible for ulcers could also play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease according to research presented today at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Recommended for you

Image ordering often based on factors other than patient need: study

September 25, 2017
Do you really need that MRI?

Bone marrow concentrate improves joint transplants

September 25, 2017
Biologic joint restoration using donor tissue instead of traditional metal and plastic may be an option for active patients with joint defects. Although recovery from a biologic joint repair is typically longer than traditional ...

How ketogenic diets curb inflammation

September 25, 2017
Ketogenic diets – extreme low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimens that have long been known to benefit epilepsy and other neurological illnesses – may work by lowering inflammation in the brain, according to new research ...

Researchers develop treatment to reduce rate of cleft palate relapse complication

September 22, 2017
Young people with cleft palate may one day face fewer painful surgeries and spend less time undergoing uncomfortable orthodontic treatments thanks to a new therapy developed by researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry. ...

Exosomes are the missing link to insulin resistance in diabetes

September 21, 2017
Chronic tissue inflammation resulting from obesity is an underlying cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. But the mechanism by which this occurs has remained cloaked, until now.

Thousands of new microbial communities identified in human body

September 20, 2017
A new study of the human microbiome—the trillions of microbial organisms that live on and within our bodies—has analyzed thousands of new measurements of microbial communities from the gut, skin, mouth, and vaginal microbiome, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.